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freakshow10mm
08-22-2010, 18:16
First off, let me clear the air. I do not give a rat's butt if you have the FFL for ammunition manufacturing or are insured for liability, E's & O's, et al. I do encourage all that do it to be licensed and insured for their sake. This is not a head hunting thread and with the anonymous nature of the Internet, I could really care less who you actually are, try to be, or think you are in "real life". This is just a "wondering" thread. What you post will not change my opinion of you (except Jack) as a person or a GTer. Take off your tin foil hat and pony up to the bar.

For those that think or know they have what it takes to load for others and charge money for it, but don't, why not? The free market mentality is there and there is a market for affordable ammunition which is also profitable if done right. Do you not think there is demand? Is it business management skills you lack (I can relate to that)? Is it the perceived liability?

labdwakin
08-22-2010, 18:30
Mostly it's the time. If I were to get laid off from my job, that's probably what I'd start doing, though. Right now, I have a pretty decent job that has me travelling about 280 days a year and doesn't allow me to do that. Add in the fact that I'm about to move my place of residence 1000 miles so Jack can't call me a flatlander anymore, and yeah... just not enough time. Obviously, if I WERE to start reloading for sale to others, I'd be VERY meticulous with that whole process. I just am doing pretty good where I'm at and don't see any reason to allow the BATF instant access to my home at this point.

n2extrm
08-22-2010, 18:42
I think it is a hard business, a lot of work making, marketing the ammo. A lot of work securing a supply of components, and researching the information. Price shopping for the best deals. Record keeping, liability and the good old ATF.

Frankly I think there is a market for it, and my hats off to anybody willing to fill it. I will simply do it as a hobby!:wavey:

CitizenOfDreams
08-22-2010, 18:49
Reloading ans selling ammunition is a business. A fun one, but still a business, with all its problems, expences and pitfalls. Not everyone is cut to be a businessman. Potential liability issues don't make it any easier either.

jmorris
08-22-2010, 19:11
I simply cannot make the same amount, much less more, money than what I make doing what I currently do. Costs are to high and the margins are too low.

labdwakin
08-22-2010, 19:13
My question is...
If one of us were to get into it, would Freak be willing to share sources and info?

Hoser
08-22-2010, 19:25
Never turn your hobby into work.

BWT
08-22-2010, 19:26
I've thought about it numerous times. I retire in 4 years (3yr9months but who's counting) and that is one of the businesses I've been researching. I know some people that don't live too far from me that took the plunge and its worked well for them. They hit all the gun shows in Texas and that's how they have gotten the word out about their business.

shotgunred
08-22-2010, 19:34
I ran two small business for over a decade. I have had several part time business that I have done while being employed elsewhere. I am setting up another right now. One that only takes 5 to 10 hours a week. Extra money business not a large cash maker. But I like my current job. At the end of business I forget about it until tomorrow. When I go on vacation I still get payed. When my kid gets sick I can worry about that not about the medical bills.

You don't run a small business it runs you. My last one I made twice what I do now. But I worked 7 days a week. I was always on call. I got stress migraines. Customers always were behind on payments. The dream of your own business is far from the reality of a small business.
My best advice is to work for the government and do your ammo business on the side.

fredj338
08-22-2010, 19:35
I did it for awhile freak, back when CAS first started, around the late 80s. There was a market for lead bulleted ammo that just wasn't available then. I found I couldn't make any serious money pulling the handle myself vs doing the engineering drawing that I still do today. I could sell all the ammo I wanted to guys not willing to handload, but just too time consuming on a 550B. SO it is now just for me.
THis last couple of years got me started thinking about gearing back up w/ a 650 & just loading 9mm & 45, but again, time vs money. Although I am working only part time now, maybe it's time to start up again?

VN350X10
08-22-2010, 20:04
Supply of components at this time is a bit too "iffy" as I want to source bullets locally. Otherwise, could do a consistant business by only doing .38's & .45 LC, both loaded to S.A.S.S. specs, selling them at the shop I work at part time; Really waiting for the shop's paperwork to add on a class 6 & a class 7 to our class 01 lic.
The added ins. is only going to be about $100.00/year anyhow.
Either loads acceptably fast on a 650 w/feeder & the margin on these 2 special applications is very good.

uncle albert

The idea of being a niche provider is a good concept.

freakshow10mm
08-22-2010, 21:10
You don't run a small business it runs you.
That's for sure. :wow:

I did it for awhile freak, back when CAS first started, around the late 80s. There was a market for lead bulleted ammo that just wasn't available then. I found I couldn't make any serious money pulling the handle myself vs doing the engineering drawing that I still do today. I could sell all the ammo I wanted to guys not willing to handload, but just too time consuming on a 550B. SO it is now just for me.
THis last couple of years got me started thinking about gearing back up w/ a 650 & just loading 9mm & 45, but again, time vs money. Although I am working only part time now, maybe it's time to start up again?
I recall your anecdotes about CAS reloading business here and there over the years I've "known" you online.

Niche is the way to go right now. The big guys are back in town and it's the niche stuff that's working.

I think you've known me as long as I ventured into handloading. You should know I started my ammo company loading on my 550. It's harder with lower volume, but think of the "perfect" results. Loading only on a 550 for 40 hours a week (2,080 hours) is 1.04 million rounds a year at 500rds per hour. Even half that figure is 500,000 rounds. Making $50 per K for popular stuff is $25,000 gross at a half million rounds a year. Double that for special stuff even more. .32 H&R I made 300% profit margin (gross). Load a case of 1,000 rounds make $400 profit. Trouble is I'd sell maybe 10,000 rounds yearly. Not enough to bother with so I dropped it from the catalog.

I quickly realized quantity without sacrificing quality is paramount. Currently I can do about 25-30 cases a month of 9mm no problem; supplies and time away from FT job factored. That's why I ponied up for the 1050. Reduce the time, no sacrifice in quality, more time with family.

Supply of components at this time is a bit too "iffy" as I want to source bullets locally. Otherwise, could do a consistant business by only doing .38's & .45 LC, both loaded to S.A.S.S. specs, selling them at the shop I work at part time; Really waiting for the shop's paperwork to add on a class 6 & a class 7 to our class 01 lic.
The added ins. is only going to be about $100.00/year anyhow.
Either loads acceptably fast on a 650 w/feeder & the margin on these 2 special applications is very good.

uncle albert

The idea of being a niche provider is a good concept.
Niche is the way to go for small reloaders like us. Trouble is gauging beyond the customer in front of you. Like my .38 LC thread. Guy just got a gun for it. Wants ammo to shoot. Wants to support a local business. Trouble is in 4 years he's the only customer that's ever asked about it. A younger me would say "sure I can load for it" get dies, brass, etc and load 100 rounds when the guy only wants 50. Then spend money marketing to sell and recoup the investment for inventory to sit for a year until the same guy buys another 50rds. Then sell the dies for a loss.

Now for the real small niche stuff, I'd rather resell than load. Some guy that I know fairly well (owns a convenience shop in the right spot) needs some 7.3mm Carcano ammo. No one I've found makes ammo, but there's brass and dies readily available. Guy only wants a box of 20rds to start with. $20 for dies, $40 for brass, then $9 for 50 bullets, couple $ for powder. Cost for 20 rounds is $60 and I still have to make a profit. Three dollars per round is, IMO, insane. No thanks. But this gentleman is also getting his 01 FFL. Doing a favor of a loss leader-ish gesture like this could land me a stocking dealer worth how many hundreds of dollars in profit each month? Maybe sell to this guy for cost, then make my money when he remembers my ability to meet his needs and buys ammo from me in bulk. It's all a gamble. Will it pay off? Roll the dice.

Very good responses. Keep them coming.

marvin
08-22-2010, 22:53
would love to give it a try, but start up money and a place to do is the hard part.

Zombie Steve
08-22-2010, 23:28
Never turn your hobby into work.

We have a winner!!! :number1:

Adjuster
08-22-2010, 23:43
I just don't see how reload ammo can compete with WalMart new production ammo.

freakshow10mm
08-22-2010, 23:57
My prices for remanufactured (reloaded by a licensed manufacturer) are

.380 ACP $230 per K
9mm supersonic $165 per K
9mm subsonic $180 per K
.45 ACP $213 per K.

Shipping is $50 per case for .45 and $20 per case for the others. Compare that with Walmart. Don't they sell 9mm for about $20 per hundred? Yep, thought so. My ammo is cheaper even with shipping.

shotgunred
08-23-2010, 05:05
My prices for remanufactured (reloaded by a licensed manufacturer) are

.380 ACP $230 per K
9mm supersonic $165 per K
9mm subsonic $180 per K
.45 ACP $213 per K.

Shipping is $50 per case for .45 and $20 per case for the others. Compare that with Walmart. Don't they sell 9mm for about $20 per hundred? Yep, thought so. My ammo is cheaper even with shipping.

Just for fun I ran some numbers. Curently I can make
9mm for $137 a k
45 for $193 a k
40 for$167 a K
Plus the price of a box.

SO your prices seem a little low to me. I realize you can get components cheaper than I can. But I am already getting wholesale on bullets.

jmorris
08-23-2010, 06:34
My prices for remanufactured (reloaded by a licensed manufacturer) are

.380 ACP $230 per K
9mm supersonic $165 per K
9mm subsonic $180 per K
.45 ACP $213 per K.

Now subtract just your component costs (No insurance, machine, electric, heat, or other utilities, advertising, etc.) and you will begin to see the answer to your original question.

XDRoX
08-23-2010, 07:54
For those that think or know they have what it takes to load for others and charge money for it, but don't, why not?

I love reloading and think it would be cool to make money at it. But the way I figure it, it would be hard to make a decent living at it. I live in an expensive city and I'm not sure I could make enough to survive even with 5 1050's and 5 employees.

Benefits, retirement, medical, , job security, etc, ... is what I look for in a job. I'm not sure I could get that reloading.

My hat is off to all small business owners. It is one of the things that makes this country great. But I just don't think I have what it takes to ever take the chance with it. Being your own boss sounds nice, but so does vacation pay and medical benefits.

This might sound silly, but If I ever did start my own business I think it would be a licensed day care. Low overhead and you can charge a fortune. In my city almost everybody's both parents work.

Right now I truly believe there is big money to be made in renting. My best or "luckiest" financial decisions have been in real state. That's what I'm focusing on right now. The cost of these houses keep getting lower, and the price of rent stays the same or goes up.

hoffy
08-23-2010, 08:48
Seen a lot try and fail. If one is doing it on the side, then it is taking up a lot of time. Tooling costs are huge, + insurance. I almost started,had an in with the director of the the local community college's Peace Officer training program. Worrying about insurance, then the guy retired, did not follow through.

I worked at gun shop 25 years ago and we had a lot of guys try to sell us reloads, but did business with only one, the owner actually went to the ammo guy's shop, verified insurance, etc, that guy lasted about 10 years, sold all over the state.

If I had the capital, I think I would get into production swaging, Corbin makes some really neat stuff, and I have wanted to get into it for decades.

The guy that commented about making your hobby your business is dead on. I learned a lot during my 6 years working at a gun shop, especially since it had been going since the '50s, got to shoot more different guns than people could imagine. But, I learned to hate cleaning guns(test fired, cleaned and inspected and repaired every used gun we got, that was within my ability to repair, or the gun smith got it), thousands of guns. Also, even going to the range could be tedious, we bench sighted guns for quite a fee, and sighting in a dozen rifles, can get punishing, big calibers first!(an aside, a guy got a pre-war model 70 in 300 H&H, from his grandad. It had an old Lyman scope in Pachmayer swing mounts. He had us put some good modern glass/mounts on it and had it range tested, from bore sighting, the first 3 shot group took out the X at 100 yards! All three touching! I was stoked to say the least. His response was to ask if we could rechamber it to Win mag, we could, but had a devil of a time talking him out of it.) I am glad I worked there, but to retire from it....... But there is always the example of Black Hills, arguably the most successful case, we sold their stuff too IIRC.

It is not easy running a business, for sure, and with the nonsense that happened after the last election, I would not have wanted ammunition feeding me. I load for my friends, at what ever my costs are, because we help each other out, when I need help doing something I have people I can rely on(small town living)

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 09:11
Just for fun I ran some numbers. Curently I can make
9mm for $137 a k
45 for $193 a k
40 for$167 a K
Plus the price of a box.

SO your prices seem a little low to me. I realize you can get components cheaper than I can. But I am already getting wholesale on bullets.
I hate bullets. They are the most expensive part of ammo and there isn't much room on them at dealer cost.

Reason my prices are low is I found and negotiated a steady supply of brass for a price I wanted. Primers and powder are at OEM only prices. Bullets are dealer price which isn't much. I hooked up with a well known bullet caster and got a bigger discount on their bullets, the same price they give to a reloading dealer that orders 150K bullets at a time. Which is awesome!

Now subtract just your component costs (No insurance, machine, electric, heat, or other utilities, advertising, etc.) and you will begin to see the answer to your original question.
Yep and the money I make on the ammo, net (when the dust settles) is enough to live on in my area. I have a full time job again while I settle stuff up but when that's done in order to match my current wages from my day job, I'll need to load and sell about 60 thousand rounds a month. That's the entire business overhead paid, a wage for myself, and some cash going into savings at the end of the month for business growth.

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 09:29
Seen a lot try and fail. If one is doing it on the side, then it is taking up a lot of time. Tooling costs are huge, + insurance. I almost started,had an in with the director of the the local community college's Peace Officer training program. Worrying about insurance, then the guy retired, did not follow through.
It only costs how much you want it to. You don't need automated Camdex or AmmoLoad machines unless you want very high volume and have the capital to run them. I've been loading on a single Dillon 550 for 3 out of the 4 years I've been in business, and got a Super 1050 last November. I paid $275 shipped for the 550 with about 5 different conversion kits and tool heads. I've got less than $3,000 in equipment and could probably retool and get a Dillon 650 in .45 and one in 9mm and be done with it and have less invested in equipment. Right now I'm loading 9mm on the 1050 and .45 on the 550. Keeping it simple but thinking hard about ditching the 550 for a 650 in .45.

Gunnut 45/454
08-23-2010, 11:34
freakshow10mm
I'd have no problem making excellant ammo for sale! I just don't want to put up some whiny nobody that blows up his gun cause he should have never owned a firearm to begin with and is looking for a quick pay day! Then you got those that exspect to get the lowest price always and can't stand it when they don't get the deal they want!

As you found out the hard way -people are very unforgiving when they don't get there way! And I have zero pateince for whinners!:faint:

XDRoX
08-23-2010, 12:03
freakshow10mm
I'd have no problem making excellant ammo for sale! I just don't want to put up some whiny nobody that blows up his gun cause he should have never owned a firearm to begin with and is looking for a quick pay day! Then you got those that exspect to get the lowest price always and can't stand it when they don't get the deal they want!

As you found out the hard way -people are very unforgiving when they don't get there way! And I have zero pateince for whinners!:faint:
I agree. I couldn't sleep at night worrying about my ammo blowing someone up and suing me. I know freak said he has insurance, but how much? If someone loses an eye, because of ammo someone made in their garage, I would think that would make a pretty easy payday in court. Unless you're insured for millions, I would think this is a realistic concern.

No offense to you personally freak, just saying, "what if?"

Does normal insurance cover things like this?

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 12:08
The cheap guys are hard to deal with and I used to try to explain my prices to them versus the big factories. Now when they try to beat me down on price, I tell them my price is my price. Buy it or go buy from someone else. Losing a sale like that is no sweat off my back as those types of customers in my experience COST a business money, not MAKE a business money. I lost a lot of money trying to make needy customers happy. Learning to say NO to some things was difficult at first, but it gets easier to stay focused. Any time I deviated from my focus I lost money. I'm not a people person to begin with and that makes it hard to be in this kind of business.

unclebob
08-23-2010, 12:08
9mm and 45 are about all I reload for on the 650. It takes me about 7 to 8 minutes too change over. Both the tool heads have the powder measure installed and adjusted for the powder I throw. Shell plate for the case feeder. Two primer magazines. One set up for the 45 and one set up for the 9mm. Just about all the parts except one that unscrew and screw in the other one are just pull out and replace. Doing it this way there is no adjustments anywhere except for the shell plate. Once it is set up.
If you use different bullets, I use the Redding competition bullet seating die. Works like a champ for different bullets.
Forgot too add. I also use the small primer punch for both the small and large primers. Got the Idea from Gary at Dillon. Matter of fact I think using the small primer punch on the large primers works even better.

jmorris
08-23-2010, 12:21
I'll need to load and sell about 60 thousand rounds a month. That's the entire business overhead paid, a wage for myself, and some cash going into savings at the end of the month for business growth.
__________________
You don't need automated Camdex or AmmoLoad machines unless you want very high volume and have the capital to run them. I've been loading on a single Dillon 550.

720,000 rounds a year on a 550 would be work but you would be able to smoke the dude in your avatar in an arm wrestling match.

jmorris
08-23-2010, 12:28
I think the only way I would approach it would be if I also owned a public gun range. You have all been to the one that doesn’t want you picking up brass AND rapes you for reloaded ammo AND don’t allow reloads unless you bought them there. On second thought I always despised business practices like that.

I guess all that leaves is the odd balls for the large profit margins. Look into the cast bullet markets you have the guys with $100k+ in equipment and employees to run everything or the guy making 600 grain .458 slugs and the like.

Glockin26
08-23-2010, 12:30
I make 10mm and 40 for my brother at cost plus favors and enjoy it. I could see myself doing it down the road but my house isn't zoned comercially.

dudel
08-23-2010, 12:39
1) Personally, I don't think there's enough money in it (for the time spent and the capital investment) to make it worthwile for me.

2) It appears to be like real estate in that everyone and their brother thinks they can reload for money. You've seen the threads here. They don't seem to understand their costs correctly and they underprice their product (then go broke). How do you make a small fortune reloading ammo? Start with a large one.

3) Right now, for me, it's a hobby. No pressures. I reload when I want; not to some production schedule. I suspect the pressures you face are not what I want to get into at this point in my life. All the more power to you.

Don

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 12:39
I agree. I couldn't sleep at night worrying about my ammo blowing someone up and suing me. I know freak said he has insurance, but how much? If someone loses an eye, because of ammo someone made in their garage, I would think that would make a pretty easy payday in court. Unless you're insured for millions, I would think this is a realistic concern.

No offense to you personally freak, just saying, "what if?"

Does normal insurance cover things like this?
$1 million general liability is the basic policy for ammo reloaders and is only $2,100 per year. Your home owner's policy will NOT cover this operation.

Insurance doesn't make ammunition any safer than without. It's about the process and quality control of the operator.

The loads I make and sell are medium range loads. They are well below max pressure and are not hot rods by any means.

9mm 115gr 1150fps
9mm 124gr 1050fps
9mm 147gr 935fps

.45 ACP 230gr 850fps

Pretty standard mid-range ammo. Nothing fancy. I load what I shoot and shoot what I load. The exact same load I sell is the exact same load I shoot in my own gun.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/freakshow10mm/Ammo/DSCN0056.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/freakshow10mm/Ammo/DSCN0049.jpg

XDRoX
08-23-2010, 12:57
$1 million general liability is the basic policy for ammo reloaders and is only $2,100 per year. Your home owner's policy will NOT cover this operation.


Wow, that's way better than I thought you were going to say. That's pretty good insurance for a reasonable price. I would be comfortable with those numbers.

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 13:13
720,000 rounds a year on a 550 would be work but you would be able to smoke the dude in your avatar in an arm wrestling match.
At 60K a month it's 650 or 1050 time. I'd never do it on a 550 (although between myself and the previous owner it's seen well over a million rounds-he got it in the 80's as a RL450 press).

I think the only way I would approach it would be if I also owned a public gun range. You have all been to the one that doesn’t want you picking up brass AND rapes you for reloaded ammo AND don’t allow reloads unless you bought them there. On second thought I always despised business practices like that.

I guess all that leaves is the odd balls for the large profit margins. Look into the cast bullet markets you have the guys with $100k+ in equipment and employees to run everything or the guy making 600 grain .458 slugs and the like.
Yup. Right now if I were starting out, I'd get a 650 set up for 10mm and get a loan for all the 10mm brass I could find. Starline is a joke and I'd get set up with Top Brass instead.

Break down for ammo with plated bullets is:

Brass $100
Primers $17
Powder $16
Bullets $98

$231 cost to load a 180gr plated bullet to 1250fps "full power" range load without being stupid (9.2gr Longshot set to 1.250 lit by a CCI 300 or 350).

Now run the hell out of those and sell them for $35 per 50rds and make $469 per case gross profit. Deduct your FET of $38.70 (75% of sale price taxed at 11%) you're still making over $400 per case. And you don't have much prep time to do because it's new brass. Check for flash holes and you're set. Box them up in white boxes loose bulk pack to save on packaging and it's less than $4 per case for packaging and Avery labels. Still over $400 a case profit. Then factor your other overhead and you're still going to be ahead of the game if you know what you're doing.

That's how I got started in ammo.:supergrin:



2) It appears to be like real estate in that everyone and their brother thinks they can reload for money. You've seen the threads here. They don't seem to understand their costs correctly and they underprice their product (then go broke). How do you make a small fortune reloading ammo? Start with a large one.
Yep, seen it recently too with the ammo stuff lately.

3) Right now, for me, it's a hobby. No pressures. I reload when I want; not to some production schedule. I suspect the pressures you face are not what I want to get into at this point in my life. All the more power to you.

Don
Pressure is definitely something to manage. My biggest issue is having working capital so I don't load as much as my time allows which makes it difficult to work with. I get a few cases loaded, then sold, and can't wait until payment comes in so I can ship them out and go buy more bullets to load.

Instead of taking pre-paid orders then being pressured into loading and delivering to a deadline (as worked for a while then had an epic failure) it's nice selling from stock with less pressure. I don't have much for working capital so I can only load a couple cases at a time. I get to it when I can so there's really not much pressure. When I lost my job last year and was forced to try and make this full time, I was under a lot of pressure to load. I hated it. It's nice now not relying on business income for livelihood.

Also with shrinking my catalog to two different loads, I'm under less pressure to satisfy the masses with every cartridge they need. Pick a couple and go with it. I have two loads I load and turn everything else down.

This is a nice little side business for sure. It has potential to be a full time business, especially if you load for LE, but in my experience they are a PITA to deal with and I'm glad I don't load for them anymore. Hitting the gun shows and a couple forums are perfect for the small reloader.

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 13:15
Wow, that's way better than I thought you were going to say. That's pretty good insurance for a reasonable price. I would be comfortable with those numbers.
Yup, basically $175 per month if you do the monthly cost breakdown. It's not as bad as people make it out to be. :dunno:

XDRoX
08-23-2010, 13:25
Yup, basically $175 per month if you do the monthly cost breakdown. It's not as bad as people make it out to be. :dunno:

And you probably use powder check dies right? So the chances of you sending out a double charge are very slim.

I wish I had a 5th station on my 550b.

jmorris
08-23-2010, 13:34
My prices for remanufactured (reloaded by a licensed manufacturer) are

.380 ACP $230 per K
9mm supersonic $165 per K
9mm subsonic $180 per K
.45 ACP $213 per K.
-------------------------------------------

Yup. Right now if I were starting out, I'd get a 650 set up for 10mm and get a loan for all the 10mm brass I could find. Starline is a joke and I'd get set up with Top Brass instead.

Break down for ammo with plated bullets is:

Brass $100
Primers $17
Powder $16
Bullets $98

$231 cost to load a 180gr plated bullet to 1250fps "full power" range load without being stupid (9.2gr Longshot set to 1.250 lit by a CCI 300 or 350).

Now run the hell out of those and sell them for $35 per 50rds and make $469 per case gross profit.

That’s the PITA about diminishing returns, you could make a ton selling ammo that is rare if you can sell enough volume but your not going to sell 1K rounds of .700 nitro express every month.

I guess this is more interesting to analyze than the “is it worth it” threads.

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 13:48
And you probably use powder check dies right? So the chances of you sending out a double charge are very slim.

I wish I had a 5th station on my 550b.
Nope it's visual. Powder check dies are an expense that can be eliminated by paying attention to what you are doing. Never used one and never saw the need for one. If you do want one, put it in station three and adjust your seating die in station four to crimp as well.

If I were to have a double charge, it would spill out of the case and all over the shellplate. I don't use fast powders.

DoctaGlockta
08-23-2010, 14:43
I still am amazed at your low prices. Cheaper than China Mart. Impressive.

dudel
08-23-2010, 17:15
My question is...
If one of us were to get into it, would Freak be willing to share sources and info?

He already has if memory serves. Several times in fact.

RustyFN
08-23-2010, 17:26
First off, let me clear the air. I do not give a rat's butt if you have the FFL for ammunition manufacturing or are insured for liability, E's & O's, et al. I do encourage all that do it to be licensed and insured for their sake. This is not a head hunting thread and with the anonymous nature of the Internet, I could really care less who you actually are, try to be, or think you are in "real life". This is just a "wondering" thread. What you post will not change my opinion of you (except Jack) as a person or a GTer. Take off your tin foil hat and pony up to the bar.

For those that think or know they have what it takes to load for others and charge money for it, but don't, why not? The free market mentality is there and there is a market for affordable ammunition which is also profitable if done right. Do you not think there is demand? Is it business management skills you lack (I can relate to that)? Is it the perceived liability?

I don't because I enjoy reloading and if I turn it into a job it will get old fast. Also I would rather do other things with my spare time like shoot, fish and play music with friends.

shotgunred
08-23-2010, 17:36
It not like the sources are deep dark secret.

Except a reliable and cheap source for brass.
the best I found was 3cents each for 9mm and 5.5 cents for 45 in bulk.

Then there is getting your hands on primers. My current order has been on back order for 6 months. Maybe you get moved up on the list when your commercial.

Rainier will sell wholesale as long as you buy 35K min. mix and match in lots of at least 1 K. (I have been doing this for several years.)

Well at least powder is easy to come by now.

njl
08-23-2010, 18:26
Just for fun I ran some numbers. Curently I can make
9mm for $137 a k
45 for $193 a k
40 for$167 a K
Plus the price of a box.

SO your prices seem a little low to me. I realize you can get components cheaper than I can. But I am already getting wholesale on bullets.

Do those numbers include buying brass? Ignoring the cost of brass, if I did the math correctly, I load my own .45 (230gr FMJ or JHP) for about $168 per thousand. Trouble is, if you're selling it, you're going to need brass.

Then there's the time. At the speed I load on a RL550B, I couldn't make enough ammo to make more than about $14/hour (not considering insurance, licensing, etc.) if I were to sell at Freakshow's prices.

I have had people approach me multiple times asking if I'd load for them...people ranging from close friends to complete strangers at the Wal-Mart ammo counter (back when their shelves were mostly bare, and I'd pass by just to gawk at the empty shelves). So far, I've refused, saying I really don't have the time to load more than my own ammo.

Like someone else said, if I were suddenly unemployed, it might be a way to provide a bit of income until something better came along, but I can't see doing it commercially without investing a bunch of $ in faster equipment.

shotgunred
08-23-2010, 18:38
Originally Posted by shotgunred View Post
Just for fun I ran some numbers. Currently I can make
9mm for $137 a k
45 for $193 a k
40 for$167 a K
Plus the price of a box.

SO your prices seem a little low to me. I realize you can get components cheaper than I can. But I am already getting wholesale on bullets.

Do those numbers include buying brass? Ignoring the cost of brass, if I did the math correctly, I load my own .45 (230gr FMJ or JHP) for about $168 per thousand. Trouble is, if you're selling it, you're going to need brass.



My prices were the best I could come up with at the moment including brass.
5.5 cents a round was for brass in 45 and 3.3 cents for 9mm.
That is also assuming I could actually get primers.
With a FFL you could shave some more off primers and powder. Also those prices are for a perfect 100% production run which never happens.

ursoboostd
08-23-2010, 18:57
Oh how I would love to sell ammo. I'm really afraid I wouldn't be able to sell enough ammo to make a profit on top of ins. and all the other bs. Think I may try my hand at selling polish once fired brass 1st though. Thanks for all the info Freakshow. -Wade-

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 23:04
I still am amazed at your low prices. Cheaper than China Mart. Impressive.
Thanks. I appreciate it. :supergrin:
He already has if memory serves. Several times in fact.
Yup.

It not like the sources are deep dark secret.

Except a reliable and cheap source for brass.
the best I found was 3cents each for 9mm and 5.5 cents for 45 in bulk.
Best way to get brass for your price you're willing to pay is state it, then be ready to buy enough to get it. When I buy brass it's minimum 10,000 pieces. Be prepared to polish it and sort for military brass. I've got the 1050 in 9mm so I just dictate the brass be sorted for aluminum, berdan, and steel. For a quick clean I use citric acid, then air dry, then load. Hit it with a light polish of corncob and mineral spirits with a 5% addition by weight of walnut.

Then there is getting your hands on primers. My current order has been on back order for 6 months. Maybe you get moved up on the list when your commercial.
Sometimes. The way I've seen it work is you have access to OEM only pricing from OEM distributors and the factory will drop ship directly to the OEM manufacturer (you) after a certain amount. Steele's policy is 100,000 primers drop ships CCI or Federal direct with no shipping or HazMat fees. I had 150K that took over a year to arrive when I was told 12 weeks tops. Have 200K placed 3 months after the first batch and they said don't start looking on your doorstep until 2011. Primers are getting much better but large quantity is still a wait. You'll have to get it at Graf's on a dealer account or talk PVI or Widener's to do the same.

Rainier will sell wholesale as long as you buy 35K min. mix and match in lots of at least 1 K. (I have been doing this for several years.)

Well at least powder is easy to come by now.
Xtreme is cheaper than Rainier and has no minimum. They also have thicker plating which holds pressure better.

I've never had a problem getting powder for normal prices. I buy a drum (45lbs) at a time. Average of 5gr per round, that's enough powder for 63,000 rounds. $12/lb shipped isn't bad either.:supergrin:

Do those numbers include buying brass? Ignoring the cost of brass, if I did the math correctly, I load my own .45 (230gr FMJ or JHP) for about $168 per thousand. Trouble is, if you're selling it, you're going to need brass.
If you load for profit, there is no reason to buy anything retail. You're an OEM. You pay wholesale or they can shove it. Many reloading distributors will let you buy Hornady in bulk cases as an OEM but you have to sign an OEM contract agreement. Hornady .224 FMJ-BT-cannelure go for $360 for a case of 6,000 bullets ($60/K), but I would concentrate on target or match loads. Leave the 55gr ball stuff to the Camdex guys. I was loading .223 at a cost of $125 per K using military brass, Hornady bullets, TAC powder, and CCI primers. BTW, right now TJ Conevera has mixed commercial and military processed (decapped, swaged, polished) .223 brass for $69/K shipped. Get on that stuff now it's a great deal. Me, I'll pass on the rifle stuff. I like not having to lube pistol brass. Lubing rifle brass is such a PITA.

Then there's the time. At the speed I load on a RL550B, I couldn't make enough ammo to make more than about $14/hour (not considering insurance, licensing, etc.) if I were to sell at Freakshow's prices.
One major thing people make a mistake on in this business is factoring time as an hourly rate. No go. Your time means nothing, especially starting out. You have no reputation you need quality, service, and price. If it takes you 7 hours to load a case of .308 match loads and you make $3 per hour, big deal. Your customer got the best darn ammo for the best price. What that tells you is you don't raise your price to compensate for the time expended, you need to get more efficient without sacrificing quality. If you can't raise your price or can't get efficient, then drop that load because it's not profitable.

For me, 9mm is more profitable than .45. The fact that it's cheaper to load and cheaper to sell while making a higher profit margin is a bonus. So that's my focus. More profit with a more popular cartridge and buying in bulk quantity to get more of a price break only increases my margin. 9mm is so popular I can get fired brass for dirt cheap.

Many reloading places offer a discount in bulk, like TJC has a few dollars off their bullets when you buy 50K (M&M) or more. So save up, get 50K, save a bit of money and increase your margins. Then set the profit in the bank and keep turning over that original capital until your bank account matches your capital investment. Then buy in 100K from the factory direct and get a larger discount. Use the smaller reloading dealers as a stepping stone to get lower prices from the actual manufacturer. Buying bullets for a $4 discount at 50K means you just saved $200. That's not chicken s**t money there, that's an additional TWO CASES of ammo you can now make money on. What if you went factory direct for bullets and got a $10 discount on top of that? Hell, there's $1,400 in savings now buying in 100K pallets. Don't lower your price. Keep it where it sells, lower your cost (or overhead if you can) to increase your margin. $1,400 in savings is 14 more cases you can load and profit on. Even if you only load 200K a year and buy bullets twice a year in 100K lots, look what you just did. You saved $2,800 in a year buying in bulk. Remember your $2,100 yearly insurance premium for your liability insurance? BINGO! You just paid for it in the savings you got from your bullet vendor.

Running a 1050 in 9mm not having to fuss with anything I can do about 900 rounds an hour no problem. For a start to finish process including brass processing, getting components in place to load, then actually loading, then inspecting and packaging, labeling it can vary from 2 to 2.5 hours per 1,000 rounds. That was one mistake I made. I would factor labor by what Dillon said and totally neglected the big picture of making and bringing a product to sellable condition. That put more pressure on me to load fast to meet deadlines. Horsepucky. Now I just load how ever long it takes me and be done with it.

You have to break up your time. I process brass only on weekends. I load only during the week unless the wife and son go do some mom/son bonding stuff. Then I see them off and get into "ammo" mode and start loading. Get some brass tumbling in the garage, get back into the office and start loading ammo. When I'm about done with a case, I'll go swap out the brass. One person doing everything is an easy way to get burnt out quickly. Breaking up your time keeps your mind fresh and clear.

Oh how I would love to sell ammo. I'm really afraid I wouldn't be able to sell enough ammo to make a profit on top of ins. and all the other bs. Think I may try my hand at selling polish once fired brass 1st though. Thanks for all the info Freakshow. -Wade-
Glad to hear my advice helped get the gears turning. You know where to find me if you need any other tidbits of help (but I won't hold your hand).:tongueout: Got to learn some hard lessons yourself. That's how we learn and grow.

Guntrainer
08-23-2010, 23:40
Something I have noticed with newer commercial brass, is some is starting to have a discrete crimped primer pocket. Makes the 1050 Dillon the way to go.

Right now, I am sorting a 5 gallon bucket of 45 brass I bought off a fellow who had been picking up and sorting range brass. Cheap, but not a reliable supply. 8 hours in the tumbler with walnut hulls, then 4 with corn cob/polish. Looks like new.

The 40 hull needs to be run through a sizer that sizes the entire case. Roll and case sizers are either hard to get and expensive, or slow and still expensive.

I now load 38 SPL, 9X19, and 45 Auto on a 1050. Low production runs of 38 S&W, 380, 357 Mag, 44 Mag, and 45 Colt's on a 650. I load 40 for personal consumption. Since I now process and load 100% of the ammo, processing 40 brass, and sorting buckets of mixed brass is not economically feasible.

Be prepared to spend a LOT of time sorting and culling brass. Get the big Dillon tumbler and separator. I will not load ammo without the Powder Check. 38 Spl and such hulls conceal the small amount of powder used for most loads.

Bullets for target fodder are price point. Get the best deal, and order enough to get a break, and let the supplier know you are a steady customer.

Don't forget, the BATFE will want a letter from your Fire Marshall stating that ammunition may be manufactured in your house/business if you are wanting a type VI license. If you ONLY load other folks' brass for their personal use, there is no excise tax liability. If you load for a range or business using their brass, they will resell it, and there is an excise tax liability.

DO NOT GET A TYPE VII LICENSE UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE FIREARMS. There is another tax, the ITAR, that at last check, was $2250 annually. This allows making ammo and guns. GET THE SIX.

If your local inspectors are gun friendly, no problem. My local Codes, Zoning, and Fire Marshall all have Handgun Carry Permits and were helpful.

The BATFE inspector was no nonsense, but as long as I was in compliance of laws, codes, and zoning, no problem.

http://bluebunnyammo.eastsidegunshop.com/

freakshow10mm
08-23-2010, 23:51
Right now, I am sorting a 5 gallon bucket of 45 brass I bought off a fellow who had been picking up and sorting range brass. Cheap, but not a reliable supply. 8 hours in the tumbler with walnut hulls, then 4 with corn cob/polish. Looks like new.
Geez, man. 5 minutes in citric acid, 1 hour to air dry. Then load on a 1050 and polish with corncob and mineral spirits for 15 minutes. Done. The result:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/freakshow10mm/Ammo/380100FMJ.jpg

Be prepared to spend a LOT of time sorting and culling brass.
Cement mixer works well.

Don't forget, the BATFE will want a letter from your Fire Marshall stating that ammunition may be manufactured in your house/business if you are wanting a type VI license.
Sorry this is false. There is no requirement.

DO NOT GET A TYPE VII LICENSE UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE FIREARMS. There is another tax, the ITAR, that at last check, was $2250 annually. This allows making ammo and guns. GET THE SIX.
Ammunition for firearms is also a "defensive article" as defined by ITAR. :wavey:

jmorris
08-24-2010, 08:36
One major thing people make a mistake on in this business is factoring time as an hourly rate. No go. Your time means nothing, especially starting out. You have no reputation you need quality, service, and price. If it takes you 7 hours to load a case of .308 match loads and you make $3 per hour, big deal.

If I had that mentality I would have had to close my business years ago. I go the other route, companies (or people) that want it done right and right now will pay top dollar.



Be prepared to spend a LOT of time sorting and culling brass.

I get all of my brass for free but it is mixed. It takes time to sort but with my brass sorter I wouldn't say it's a LOT.
http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/sorter.jpg

The 40 hull needs to be run through a sizer that sizes the entire case. Roll and case sizers are either hard to get and expensive, or slow and still expensive.


I roll size all of my 9mm, 38 super, 40 and 45. As far as slow, it's not camdex fast but at 1800 an hour it is always ahead of me.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/DSC02028-1.jpg

Those are just two machines I have built to make the time I have to spend reloading shorter. I also have bullet and case feeders on all of my 650’s and 1050, auto drives for the press, primer tube filler, automatic annealing machine, automatic bullet casting machine, automatic bullet sizing machine and a bunch of other tidbits that save time or money. I did the math a few years ago and the numbers just didn’t come out, compared to what I do now.

njl
08-24-2010, 09:41
http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/DSC02028-1.jpg



I recognize what I assume is a Dillon case feeder in this one. What is the rest of it, and what's this machine do?

Hoser
08-24-2010, 09:47
I recognize what I assume is a Dillon case feeder in this one. What is the rest of it, and what's this machine do?

It is a case-pro roll sizer. Wonderfull machines.

www.casepro100.com

Old Style
08-24-2010, 09:48
Could you please list all the licensing requirements needed to manufacture and sell reloads.

njl
08-24-2010, 09:58
It is a case-pro roll sizer. Wonderfull machines.

www.casepro100.com

And it looks like you have an electric motor attached to so the process is fully automated?...just pour brass into the case feeder, throw a switch or two, and refill the case feeder as needed?

freakshow10mm
08-24-2010, 10:00
If I had that mentality I would have had to close my business years ago. I go the other route, companies (or people) that want it done right and right now will pay top dollar.

Having a hard time articulating my point with that statement.

I guess I'm trying to say looking at this business by the direct hourly rate is not the way to do it. Your unit of sale is a case of 1,000 rounds. Keeps things simple. How much do you want to make when you sell it? That's the question that should be answered. Is $20 per case enough? $50? $200? Are you going to make a straight factor across the board so you make the same dollar amount per cartridge whether it be 9mm, .45, or .44 Magnum? Are you going to have your markup based on a flat percentage based on component cost? Is 200% good? 275%? 400%?

I use a straight dollar factor and apply it to 9mm and .45, since that's all I load right now. It takes the same time to load so direct time isn't factored. I make the same dollar amount profit per case no matter what the caliber is, but the profit margin percentage (ROI) is greater on 9mm than .45 because it costs less to produce. The net after FET is a few dollars off but percentage-wise the 9mm has a 15% advantage over the .45. Margins are more important than profit dollars. Margin with volume is the winner. Combine those two and you will make more money.

I priced my ammo to a point where it will sell as long as I have inventory to sell and that is based on a straight dollar factor. Now if I want to make more money, I don't increase my price since that is risky and will deter sales, I look to control costs and look to make inefficiencies more efficient. Buy in larger quantity will reduce your COGS. Add stuff to orders to combine shipping. Save up and buy powder in a drum. Doing it once or twice a year means less time ordering stuff and more time loading and selling stuff. Buying fancy box/tray combos from Scharch is expensive to pay for something someone throws in the garbage. That's why I use the white boxes I do. Crush proof to 200lbs and buying in bulk means they are 5 cents each versus 53 cents. They are also smaller in size than the box/tray but hold twice as much. That means I can have a dealer shelf 100 rounds in the same space as a 50rd box.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v239/freakshow10mm/P4100128.jpg

You're making a few cents per round but doing it by the tens of thousands of rounds. That's the key. Economy of scale. Lower your price, sell more, reduce your COGS and overhead to increase your margin. I've got one product I sell that I make 800% margin on, but the profit dollars don't look as good as the margin. Go to a bank for a business loan for a product you make. "What's your net profit?" X dollars, OK. "What's your margin?" It's 800%. Wow, that's excellent. We should have no problem approving you.

Discount sale for 50% off and I'm still making 400% profit margin.

freakshow10mm
08-24-2010, 10:04
Could you please list all the licensing requirements needed to manufacture and sell reloads.
06 FFL
ITAR registration

Then any local business or state licensing or zoning permit you need. Insurance is recommended, but not required legally.

State sales tax license if selling anything other than wholesale (sell to someone that sells to someone so they can sell it to a retail customer). IE, Old Style Reloads sells to ABC Distributor that only sells to gun shops so the gun shop sells at retail. If you sell to ABC Distributor that is wholesale. If you sell direct to the gun shop, that's retailER sales and you may or may not need a sales tax license. Check with your state regs.

glockaviator
08-24-2010, 10:12
One comment. Marketing, packaging, advertising, accounting, record keeping all consume time and money and are frequently ignored in these situations. People just imagine they will spend all their time making ammunition and all that "other stuff" will take care of itself.

njl
08-24-2010, 10:33
If I had that mentality I would have had to close my business years ago. I go the other route, companies (or people) that want it done right and right now will pay top dollar.



My point about the gross profit per hour was just that if you don't have the gear to go fast, your day job may be a whole lot more profitable than trying to sell commercial reloads.

The gear to go fast (Dillon 1050s) and the purchase of components in bulk (drums of powder, primers by the 100k) would cost some $...but I guess as businesses go, this is a relatively cheap one to start...and most of the stuff, you could resell if you decide it just isn't for you.

Looking at Dillon's site, it looks like you could have a Super1050 setup for multiple calibers for around $2k. If things really take off, get more than one...or maybe use 650's for calibers that don't need the 1050. i.e. with .40 or .38/357 where the primer pockets generally aren't crimped, what does the 1050 do for your production speed that a 650 can't? Would the main difference be seating primers on the downstroke so on the 1050 there's less effort/care in the upstroke?

Between the press, a bulk order of primers and drum or two of powder, and bullets, you could probably get all setup for under $20k to load a couple of popular pistol calibers...maybe 9mm, .40, .45, to start, and then maybe .380 and .38/.357 if you think there's demand. If you get started doing this out of your house you don't have to lease commercial space and probably won't have any employees to take care of.

freakshow10mm
08-24-2010, 11:36
One comment. Marketing, packaging, advertising, accounting, record keeping all consume time and money and are frequently ignored in these situations. People just imagine they will spend all their time making ammunition and all that "other stuff" will take care of itself.
One quickly finds out how much behind the scenes work there is in running a business, even a microbusiness.

My point about the gross profit per hour was just that if you don't have the gear to go fast, your day job may be a whole lot more profitable than trying to sell commercial reloads.
That and it makes sense as a perfect side business for extra spending money or to generate a little more financial stability.

The gear to go fast (Dillon 1050s) and the purchase of components in bulk (drums of powder, primers by the 100k) would cost some $...but I guess as businesses go, this is a relatively cheap one to start...and most of the stuff, you could resell if you decide it just isn't for you.
That's why it appeals to many. Low startup cost. I started my business with a Dillon 550, a Lee melter, and some Lee molds. Maybe $500 or $600 worth of stuff. I took the last $30 in cash I had to buy lead and started making bullets.

Figure this, 100K primers are about $1,800 shipped, drum of powder is about $500 shipped, bullets for 9mm let's say are about $60/K, and brass is under $25/K on forums or cheaper yet from ranges. A microloan for $5,000 to $10,000 is a pretty safe thing. Bullets are the most expensive and you can probably work on that buy getting a line of credit for primers, powder, and then buy brass and bullets as you need them. Even $5,000 in components is a really good start and isn't much really.

Looking at Dillon's site, it looks like you could have a Super1050 setup for multiple calibers for around $2k. If things really take off, get more than one...or maybe use 650's for calibers that don't need the 1050. i.e. with .40 or .38/357 where the primer pockets generally aren't crimped, what does the 1050 do for your production speed that a 650 can't? Would the main difference be seating primers on the downstroke so on the 1050 there's less effort/care in the upstroke?
Priming on the downstroke is inherently faster by a couple hundred rounds an hour. The real advantage is it's a mechanical setting on the press, not how hard or consistent you push forward. The real advantage of the 1050 is the swage rod, which Dillon feels the need to charge a $1,000 premium over the 650 for it. There are three cartridges that really need the 1050 and they are the 9mm Luger, .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO. Everything else a 1050 is really overkill unless you can justify it for the priming on the downstroke.

Between the press, a bulk order of primers and drum or two of powder, and bullets, you could probably get all setup for under $20k to load a couple of popular pistol calibers...maybe 9mm, .40, .45, to start, and then maybe .380 and .38/.357 if you think there's demand. If you get started doing this out of your house you don't have to lease commercial space and probably won't have any employees to take care of.
I would get a press in each primer size. The last sentence is worth gold. That's why I can sell for the price I do.

Old Style
08-24-2010, 11:54
I reviewed ITAR registration requirements and fees. From what I can tell the Registration fees are $2250.00 annually. Is this correct or am I missing something?

njl
08-24-2010, 12:12
Priming on the downstroke is inherently faster by a couple hundred rounds an hour. The real advantage is it's a mechanical setting on the press, not how hard or consistent you push forward. The real advantage of the 1050 is the swage rod, which Dillon feels the need to charge a $1,000 premium over the 650 for it. There are three cartridges that really need the 1050 and they are the 9mm Luger, .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO. Everything else a 1050 is really overkill unless you can justify it for the priming on the downstroke.



So I assume priming on the downstroke also makes it simpler to automate the "handle pull" by hooking a motor to the press (I've seen youtube videos), because all you have to worry about at that point is fully cycling the handle.

I'm curious why you say 9mm needs the 1050 but not .45? Is that because so much inexpensive 9mm (and the source of your used brass) is military/milsurp with crimped pockets, but relatively little .45 is? AFAIK, the .45 brass I bought (WCC from TJC) was originally crimped, but was taken care of before it was sent to me.

So, why are you trying to convince us to get into this? You looking to create some competition in boutique reloads, or just sucker a bunch of us into feeling your pain? :)

It seems like it might be a good "job" post-retirement to supplement income and fill the hours of the days. For someone already reloading, the startup $ would be negligible, and like I said, if it really pans out, you put some more $ into bigger/faster/more presses, if not, you either sit on a lifetime supply of components or sell them off locally if possible...and that's assuming you ever got as far as placing bulk component orders.

BTW...doing this from home, what do you do for storage of drums of powder and hundreds of thousands of primers?

If the house catches fire, do you just grab a few things and get out of dodge, and figure the house is gone?

XDRoX
08-24-2010, 13:20
BTW...doing this from home, what do you do for storage of drums of powder and hundreds of thousands of primers?

If the house catches fire, do you just grab a few things and get out of dodge, and figure the house is gone?


Good question. I know in CA, the legal limit for primers is 10K. Does your state also have a limit or are you exempt from the law since you have a reloading license?

njl
08-24-2010, 13:34
Good question. I know in CA, the legal limit for primers is 10K. Does your state also have a limit or are you exempt from the law since you have a reloading license?

I don't believe my state has a legal limit on primers or powder...but still, if you're taking delivery of powder by the drum, you've got to keep them somewhere (hopefully somewhere safe). I've probably got close to 30lbs of powder and 25k primers (both are combined totals of different types, i.e. Clays, Universal, WST, H110, H335, SP/LP/SR). When you buy powder by the 4 or 8lb jug and need different types for different applications, it adds up quickly. I keep all the powder and primers in two separate locked "file cabinets" which are basically steel file cabinets with perforated sides. This wasn't exactly by design...it's just what I had available, and seemed the best available place in the house to store the stuff.

XDRoX
08-24-2010, 13:40
I don't believe my state has a legal limit on primers or powder...but still, if you're taking delivery of powder by the drum, you've got to keep them somewhere (hopefully somewhere safe). I've probably got close to 30lbs of powder and 25k primers (both are combined totals of different types, i.e. Clays, Universal, WST, H110, H335, SP/LP/SR). When you buy powder by the 4 or 8lb jug and need different types for different applications, it adds up quickly. I keep all the powder and primers in two separate locked "file cabinets" which are basically steel file cabinets with perforated sides. This wasn't exactly by design...it's just what I had available, and seemed the best available place in the house to store the stuff.

In CA if you have over 50lb's of powder (I think 50 is the number), then it has to be kept in a wooden box at least 1in think.

jmorris
08-24-2010, 13:45
And it looks like you have an electric motor attached to so the process is fully automated?...just pour brass into the case feeder, throw a switch or two, and refill the case feeder as needed?

Yes.

I guess I'm trying to say looking at this business by the direct hourly rate is not the way to do it.

I agree but you have a floor that you try and not go under. I also charge quite differently if some one wants 1 part by this afternoon or 10,000 by May.

For example a good "general" charge may be $1 an inch for welding but if Bell helicopter calls me up and wants an test fixture for the NVD's they use welded up from scratch that goes out the window and your lawyer buddies will be impressed with what you make an hour.


My point about the gross profit per hour was just that if you don't have the gear to go fast, your day job may be a whole lot more profitable than trying to sell commercial reloads.


That depends on what your day job is and how valuable flexibility in your schedule is to you.


So I assume priming on the downstroke also makes it simpler to automate the "handle pull" by hooking a motor to the press (I've seen youtube videos), because all you have to worry about at that point is fully cycling the handle.

That is all you ever have to do but there are other considerations beyond that. Using the 1050 and 650 as an example, the 1050 is a pure rotation of the handle where the 650 runs on an arch to get it's compound leverage, thus it is more difficult to automate.

freakshow10mm
08-24-2010, 13:52
So I assume priming on the downstroke also makes it simpler to automate the "handle pull" by hooking a motor to the press (I've seen youtube videos), because all you have to worry about at that point is fully cycling the handle.
Yes. It's a mechanical stop since you aren't going past the resting point like with the other presses. Fully down and fully up. Rinse repeat.

I'm curious why you say 9mm needs the 1050 but not .45? Is that because so much inexpensive 9mm (and the source of your used brass) is military/milsurp with crimped pockets, but relatively little .45 is? AFAIK, the .45 brass I bought (WCC from TJC) was originally crimped, but was taken care of before it was sent to me.
The 9mm suffers from popularity. Lots of military brass. I can get a cheaper brass price if I buy it in "range dirty" condition meaning "scoop it up, pick out the aluminum and steel cases, then ship as is". Also there are a host of headstamps that can cause priming problems with the 9mm in particular, others aren't so bad. CBC (magtech) and S&B are notorious for tight pockets. Swaging them helps to uniform them. Since the .45 ACP is so very limited in military applications, there is almost zero crimped primer brass, but you have to sort for small primer brass since CCI and Speer and Fiocchi are making SP .45 brass.

So, why are you trying to convince us to get into this? You looking to create some competition in boutique reloads, or just sucker a bunch of us into feeling your pain? :)
Competition is healthy and keeps quality up and prices down. I'm just curious as I seem to be one of the few on this forum that is licensed and wonder why others don't do it.

BTW...doing this from home, what do you do for storage of drums of powder and hundreds of thousands of primers?

Have a small shed that's not a "dwelling" by definition and that is my powder and primer storage area. Storage is legally done.

If the house catches fire, do you just grab a few things and get out of dodge, and figure the house is gone?
Nope. Just get out. Get the family out and stay out. Let everything else burn.

shotgunred
08-24-2010, 14:40
Competition is healthy and keeps quality up and prices down. I'm just curious as I seem to be one of the few on this forum that is licensed and wonder why others don't do it.

If you really want to get them interested tell them about SCHEDULE C's and 179 expense deductions and how the first 100K of gun stuff they bought a year would be a tax deduction. Tell them how a small business is the best tax right off ever! Tell them how they can not make a penny the first few years buy lots of great stuff and take it all off from their primary jobs taxes.

freakshow10mm
08-24-2010, 22:14
I agree but you have a floor that you try and not go under. I also charge quite differently if some one wants 1 part by this afternoon or 10,000 by May.

For example a good "general" charge may be $1 an inch for welding but if Bell helicopter calls me up and wants an test fixture for the NVD's they use welded up from scratch that goes out the window and your lawyer buddies will be impressed with what you make an hour.
Machining and fabricating are different than assembling ammunition, but that application has a valid point. Likewise, a custom order has a premium for me to deviate from standard production (however I found custom orders more trouble than they are worth, so decline them).

If you really want to get them interested tell them about SCHEDULE C's and 179 expense deductions and how the first 100K of gun stuff they bought a year would be a tax deduction. Tell them how a small business is the best tax right off ever! Tell them how they can not make a penny the first few years buy lots of great stuff and take it all off from their primary jobs taxes.
I leave the tax details to the CPAs. The one thing I will say is this: running a home based business means the portion of dedicated business space is factored against your mortgage interest, utilities (only those the business actually uses), and phone are all deductible expenses. My office is an 11x14 room in my home that I do everything business in except keep brass in the garage (tumble there too) and the small outbuilding shed for powder and primer storage. I skip the garage space as it's two stacked Rubbermaid tubs of brass, but the office and shed are included and deducted against the home expenses.

Don't forget "R&D" is deductible but you still have to pay FET on ammo you make for internal use, product testing, quality control, etc.

shotgunred
08-25-2010, 05:00
The house thing is OK but it doesn't add up to all that much and can only be taken off on the profit of that business venture. The 179 expense deductions are always my big tax money saver. Unlike the house deductions 179 expense deductions will carry over to your total gross income (not just your business). They are a 100% right off the top for that tax year if you need it. Some of it can also be carried over to the next year if you chose.
179 expense deductions are good for up to 100K per year and are available for practically anything you need to buy for the business. (computers, guns, presses, safes, chronographs ect.)
In my mind they are one of the best reasons that everyone should have a for profit (not hobby) small business.

freakshow10mm
08-25-2010, 08:34
The house thing is OK but it doesn't add up to all that much and can only be taken off on the profit of that business venture. The 179 expense deductions are always my big tax money saver. Unlike the house deductions 179 expense deductions will carry over to your total gross income (not just your business). They are a 100% right off the top for that tax year if you need it. Some of it can also be carried over to the next year if you chose.
179 expense deductions are good for up to 100K per year and are available for practically anything you need to buy for the business. (computers, guns, presses, safes, chronographs ect.)
In my mind they are one of the best reasons that everyone should have a for profit (not hobby) small business.
The house thing saves us a few hundred dollars a year. The nice thing is the equipment, tooling, test firearms, etc. The Dillon 1050, dies, toolheads, casefeed plates, spare parts, loading bench, were all deductible. Just don't miss those home deductions. They can add up.

jmorris
08-25-2010, 09:21
Machining and fabricating are different than assembling ammunition, but that application has a valid point. Likewise, a custom order has a premium for me to deviate from standard production

All business are different but the same concepts are there, like a cooked to order burger costs more than a “#2”.


Lets use this as an example.

I use a straight dollar factor and apply it to 9mm and .45, since that's all I load right now.

If I were loading and selling ammunition I would not place the same value loading 9mm as I would 45 (component costs aside). I either have to sort out all of the small primer 45 brass or deal with the problem when it jams the machine, either way that adds time over 9mm (no large pocket 9) and will cost more.

Taking that a step further, if I were selling bench rest ammunition where I anneal, size, deprime, debur the flash hole, ream the pocket, trim, turn the neck and chamfer inside and out, it’s going to be a “premium” price.

freakshow10mm
08-25-2010, 10:19
If I were loading and selling ammunition I would not place the same value loading 9mm as I would 45 (component costs aside). I either have to sort out all of the small primer 45 brass or deal with the problem when it jams the machine, either way that adds time over 9mm (no large pocket 9) and will cost more.
In my case, I sort and inspect brass by hand so the time is the same I suppose for 9mm and .45. I sort headstamps in each and cull the sub-quality stuff. During this I cull the SP .45 brass and set it aside as well. I guess time is factored but because it's about equal I'm desensitized to it.

With the .380 right now I am processing a mix of 5,000pcs 9mm and .380, so it's taking longer to sort and inspect than just sorting. The 9mm I paid my normal price for so price won't change despite increase in time spent processing brass. However the .380 price will remain the same even though I essentially paid $20 shipped per K instead of the $100 I have been paying. I'll just be making an extra $80 profit (though I would be curious to see how fast a case of .380 would sell if priced according to my protocol at $151/K :) )


Taking that a step further, if I were selling bench rest ammunition where I anneal, size, deprime, debur the flash hole, ream the pocket, trim, turn the neck and chamfer inside and out, it’s going to be a “premium” price.
That makes sense.

I guess I value time as a generalization rather than a per job factor. I like the simplicity of it, as one of the things I hate most about business is pricing. I just wish I had the capital to be able to load more so I can sell more and make more money on the volume.

jmorris
08-25-2010, 11:08
Wow, if you are sorting by head stamp your prices are extremely impressive.

My best business advice is, make your customers happy and you will have more and never have a "payment" on equipment.

freakshow10mm
08-25-2010, 12:11
Wow, if you are sorting by head stamp your prices are extremely impressive.
I sort headstamps and only use domestic manufacturers from the ATK family (Federal, Speer, CCI), Remington, Hornady, Starline, Winchester and select Magtech (9mm is OK but .45 sucks). Very limited military. I'll only load WCC military stamp. When I package ammo it's mixed brass. I've found in my experience customers don't really mind either way for mixed or sorted per box. Velocity and accuracy testing don't show one is better over the other. I've had a couple request it and it doesn't take any longer really since it is sorted during the final inspection process.

I dump the brass in the feeder, start cranking away. If I see an obvious defect (usually cosmetic) I'll cull it on the press. I dump the loaded ammo on a cookie sheet to make a single layer and then roll the ammo back and forth to inspect for visual flaws like bent or torn mouths, cosmetic tarnish, gravel scrapes, or if it just doesn't "look right". Those I cull. Once that is done I fold up 10 boxes for packaging and hand count 100 rounds into a box. While I'm doing that I hold them bullet down and inspect the primers to make sure they are seated squarely, below flush, and aren't dented (sometimes happens on the 550 when debris is on the punch). It's during this step I can toss them into "headstamp" boxes if the customer requests same headstamp per box (use a 3x5 index card with the headstamp written down so I know which one to put where). Since it's done during the primer inspection stage and only take as much effort to toss it in the "right" box, there is no additional charge for it. Then I label the box shut and stamp the lot number (date loaded and inspected) on the front. For sorted headstamp boxes, I write the headstamp brand on the top of the label (WIN, REM, BLAZER, HORNADY, etc).

Takes about an hour to load a case and I usually take about an hour and a half to do the final inspection, including measuring a test sample for bullet runout. I sample 100 rounds for runout testing. If 5 rounds result in unsatisfactory runout, the lot is rejected and not sold, but kept for demos or personal use. When the dust settles between loading and inspecting I have anywhere between two to three hours into a case of 1,000 rounds.

My best business advice is, make your customers happy and you will have more and never have a "payment" on equipment.
Thanks. Trying to do that right now. It's a slow start due to lack of capital, but I'm doing the best I can with what I have. Trying to get a microloan so I have some capital to work with and keep inventory.

jmorris
08-26-2010, 08:47
It's a slow start due to lack of capital, but I'm doing the best I can with what I have. Trying to get a microloan so I have some capital to work with and keep inventory.

Think about gun games where slow is fast. Debt and payments generally mean you are giving your money away in the form of interest. Debt will also add a pressure into the mix that might temp some to “short cut” processes in order to turn out more volume. Every time I have heard the story about the tortoise and the hair the turtle wins.

unclebob
08-26-2010, 08:56
Reading on another Forum. They said that you sold them some ammo that they could not use. Would you mind saying what was wrong with the ammo?

freakshow10mm
08-26-2010, 09:30
Think about gun games where slow is fast. Debt and payments generally mean you are giving your money away in the form of interest. Debt will also add a pressure into the mix that might temp some to “short cut” processes in order to turn out more volume. Every time I have heard the story about the tortoise and the hair the turtle wins.
Yeah, I hear ya and that's why I'm reluctant to even try, even though I could probably turn it in 30 days. $1,000 would do me perfect right now to get some bullets; have everything else I need. Get a grand, make some money, pay it back then have enough to build from there. Just a little jumpstart.

freakshow10mm
08-26-2010, 10:03
Reading on another Forum. They said that you sold them some ammo that they could not use. Would you mind saying what was wrong with the ammo?
The rifle ammo had several flaws I overlooked when I was in a rush to get the order out. That lead to me taking a serious look at my process and make changes to them to improve the inspection procedures so that wouldn't happen again.

unclebob
08-26-2010, 10:45
The rifle ammo had several flaws I overlooked when I was in a rush to get the order out. That lead to me taking a serious look at my process and make changes to them to improve the inspection procedures so that wouldn't happen again.

Could you be more pacific in what they were? And what did you do different in the inspection.

freakshow10mm
08-26-2010, 11:33
Could you be more pacific in what they were? And what did you do different in the inspection.
According to the customer, several had high primers and he could hear powder moving in some when shaken and not in others. The powder for that load was on the threshold of compression so the tolerance of the PM would cause that phenomenon. High primers could have been from non-uniform pockets causing them to back out. Ammunition was loaded on a 1050 so the primer seating depth is mechanical. This was loaded when my 1050 was giving me fits, which has since been loading pistol ammunition just fine.

Post #72 is an overview of the current inspection process. There are 6 different inspection stages (brass intake, brass processing, staging, loading, post loading/polishing, during packaging). More time is spent inspecting the ammo than actually loading the ammunition.

MakeMineA10mm
08-26-2010, 21:13
For those that think or know they have what it takes to load for others and charge money for it, but don't, why not? The free market mentality is there and there is a market for affordable ammunition which is also profitable if done right. Do you not think there is demand? Is it business management skills you lack (I can relate to that)? Is it the perceived liability?

I did it for a year back in the early/mid-90s and was licensed and with insurance. Had sources with good suppliers for discounted primers and powders. Had automated casting equipment and made most of the bullets I loaded, so I made money on that end of the biz, too. Also sold the bullets as components.

The trouble I had was not affording the automated loading equipment. I was able to do what I did at the level I did in an outbuilding at the property we had out in the country. We ran a ballisti-cast casting machine (2500 bullets per hour), a Magma sizer (sizes 5000 bullets per hour), and two Dillon XL650s. All run by my partner and I. Each month we sold about 30,000 bullets and an equal amount of ammo. We had three gunshops that we kept supplied and didn't have to deal with shipping.

To go to the volume to really be a successful biz, we'd have had to have gotten a loan, hired employees (and all that entails), bought a couple ammo-loads, and several more ballisti-casts (or might have switched to Magmas). Also, to be really successful, volume-wise, you either need to be near transportation (to cheapen shipping costs for components coming in as well as to make it easier to ship finished product out-bound).

After leaving the ammo biz, I got into another biz in a different sector (food manufacturing and wholesale), and got to learn the ins-and-outs of inventory control, shipping, and "human resources". Since the loading biz was owned and operated by the two of us, there was no workers comp or all the other issues with employees. Just taxes.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I don't live in an area where there's a huge need that isn't already covered. The police agencies here locally already get supplied from a commercial loader who caters just to them. The gunshops I once supplied have called me about re-starting, but the profit is not worth the time and effort for me. My "day-jobs" I've had are much more lucrative from a time and effort vs. pay-out perspective, although it would be MUCH more fun to run a casting and loading biz again...

njl
08-26-2010, 21:22
Each month we lost about 30,000 bullets and an equal amount of ammo.

lost 30k bullets?

XDRoX
08-26-2010, 21:28
I guess the bottom line for me is that I don't live in an area where there's a huge need that isn't already covered. The police agencies here locally already get supplied from a commercial loader who caters just to them. The gunshops I once supplied have called me about re-starting, but the profit is not worth the time and effort for me. My "day-jobs" I've had are much more lucrative from a time and effort vs. pay-out perspective, although it would be MUCH more fun to run a casting and loading biz again...

Good post.

This is one thing that really hasn't been addressed yet in this thread. Maybe Freak can answer it. How much can one man really make reloading on a 1050 or a couple 650's? There is really only so much time in the day that one man can produce rounds.

Of course reloading is something that we all love to do, and there is something to be said for doing what you love.

But even if everything goes as planned, how much does someone stand to make in this profession? 30K, 50K, 75K, or is it more?

XDRoX
08-26-2010, 21:28
lost 30k bullets?

I was wondering the same thing:dunno:

MakeMineA10mm
08-26-2010, 21:54
lost 30k bullets?

Whoops. Darn spell-checker don't catch correctly-spelled wrong words! :whistling:

Should be "cast"... I'll fix it now.

Meh. changed it to "sold". Makes it even clearer.

MakeMineA10mm
08-26-2010, 22:29
IF, and that's a BIG "IF" you had a camdex or ammoload set up in 380ACP and a supply of brass and primers, you could've made a killing over the last year or so... Supply is back now, though.

I just went back and re-read the whole four pages. I agree with a lot that's there, with one exception/clarification.

If you don't go big, you are only making a business that is a full-time job for you and MAYBE a partner. If you want it to be a successful business, you need to invest a lot. There's just no real profits in small production, even in specialty calibers, except under special circumstances like I described above with the 380 situation last year.

Unless you build a factory (and I'm talking a lot of square feet here) that is half-way between Scharch and Berry's (so somewhere in Western Colorado/Eastern Utah), and put in 9 Magma casters, 5 Magma bullet sizers, and five or six AmmoLoad machines, you are not going to do enough volume to have anything more than a job with a reasonable yearly income.

You're going to need all the licensing (ITAR, FFL, Local/State Biz Lic), Insurance (Product Liability, property, Worker's Comp), a decent office manager who can answer the phone, do the day-to-day book-keeping (Quicken is decent), knows enough of the biz to speak intelligently to dealers and customers, as well as a lot of the government taxing issues for business in general, and the deadlines/issues regarding all the govt. red-tape for a biz (quarterly income taxes, business taxes, etc.), advertise in the right publications and the right way, and be able to successfully negotiate deals for raw materials as well as sales. Most importantly, you must have a decent group of production people, who can operate, adjust, repair, change-over, inspect, trouble-shoot, etc. the machinery. (They can pull double-duty making sure the machines don't run dry of supplies and moving the finished product into storage.) Lastly, one of the biggest headaches and need for employees in an operation like this will be packager/inspectors.

When Bull-X was still around, they were only 50 miles from me. My partner and I went over there to check out their operation and buy some bullets. They had 12 Magma casters and 6 Magma sizers and a large tool crib full of mould-sets for their various bullets. They had a rail siding running along the back of their building where the pigs of lead would come to them from the foundry in Chicago, a forklift, a smelter (because several-hundred-pound sows of lead wouldn't fit into the Magma's furnace, so they used a large bandsaw with a metal-cutting blade to cut them up, under which they saved the shavings and smelted them into small blocks to use - they wasted nothing...). They had large tables running off the sizers that finished bullets would run down to cool. guys with hand scoops picked up bullets (about 400-600 a time) and put them on trolleys that transferred them to the inspection/packaging room where a half-dozen ladies would eye-ball inspect the bullets and then throw them in a box on a scale. (No, they do NOT count out 500 bullets per box; they know how much 500 of them weighs, and they set the scale to give you 502, so there's never a complaint.) They had an office manager, the 6 inspectors, 6 production guys, and the yard-guy who handled the sows (unloading, stacking, cutting, bringing in the pieces for the casters), and two guys in shipping who handled filling the orders. That's 16 people just to make cast lead bullets on 12 machines.

That's a lot of payroll. That's why you need the volume. To get the volume, you need to advertise. (Remember Bull-X's full-page ads in about every magazine, every month? That wasn't cheap, but if they didn't do that, people all over the country wouldn't have known about them, and they wouldn't have done the volume...)

While we were there, we also saw their loading room. They had two 1050s, a 1000 (the original Dillon) and two Ammoloads. They were just getting into the idea of making loaded ammo, when one of the partners got sick (terminally) and the business folded. When we spoke with them about the ammo line, they figured it would take another 10 people to just run the loading machines they had, inspect and package, handle shipping, and handle receiving. But, the bullets they would get at a deep discount! :rofl: (They said they would still demand to make a profit on the bullets that were going into the ammo, but they'd give themselves a discount based on no shipping and no boxing, but the ladies would still have to inspect the bullets... They cautioned us to do the same, if we combined casting with loading, and we followed their advice.)

The guys who started and expanded Bull-X to what it was, knew what it would take to turn a biz that is really just giving you a decent income, into something profitable. They didn't HAVE to come to work, other than they were doing the "managerial" and "supervisory" stuff themselves. They could have hired a guy to do that (if they could've found one they trusted with their biz), and still sat at home and each of them make over $100k a year, but it took them 10 years, and a LOT of money to accomplish that. I'm sure they did NOT get all their money out of the biz that they had sunk into it, when the folded either, so there's not a big pot o'gold sitting there for the end either...

MakeMineA10mm
08-26-2010, 22:40
Here's the operation I like right now:

http://www.rmammo.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1

Small-ish, but not individual in the basement by any means. They need to advertise more, but they have great product and decent prices. Good website, too.

freakshow10mm
08-26-2010, 23:36
I did it for a year back in the early/mid-90s and was licensed and with insurance.
I recall you having loaded commercially before from tidbits you posted. I was hoping you'd chime in.

The trouble I had was not affording the automated loading equipment.
Me too. I've had offers by other companies to sell me their refurbed Camdex for a steal but I have no cash and probably can't get the finances together.

Also, to be really successful, volume-wise, you either need to be near transportation (to cheapen shipping costs for components coming in as well as to make it easier to ship finished product out-bound).

That's one of my issues here. I'm so remote and live on an island (the UP is actually two parts, the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula is an island separate from the big part of the UP) that there's one way in and one way out. We have daily UPS and FedEx service that delivers and picks up. I have an account with each but dropped the daily pickup service because the hardware store a block away is a pickup depot and you can drop off pre-paid packages for free to be picked up when they make their rounds.


After leaving the ammo biz, I got into another biz in a different sector (food manufacturing and wholesale), and got to learn the ins-and-outs of inventory control, shipping, and "human resources". Since the loading biz was owned and operated by the two of us, there was no workers comp or all the other issues with employees. Just taxes.
My current job is in a multi-department manufacturing facility (net assets are over $400 million kind of facility). It is really there I'm learning about production and quality controls, especially since being cross trained in the quality assurance lab dealing with very nasty toxic chemicals (like 93% concentrated sulfuric acid, ammonium hydroxide, copper sulfate, ammonium nitrate, sodium thiosulfate, and so on). The management team there has also been very helpful with management tips on my business and is helping me to turn things around.

Right now it's myself and I have two people I have work on a job/contract basis as a 1099. Nice to streamline payroll and taxes for my CPA.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I don't live in an area where there's a huge need that isn't already covered. The police agencies here locally already get supplied from a commercial loader who caters just to them. The gunshops I once supplied have called me about re-starting, but the profit is not worth the time and effort for me. My "day-jobs" I've had are much more lucrative from a time and effort vs. pay-out perspective, although it would be MUCH more fun to run a casting and loading biz again...
The one thing I benefit from the most is the cost of living here is so cheap if I made enough to pay myself a salary of $1,500 a month plus leave room for business growth, that's all I need. And it's a good living at that.

Good post.

This is one thing that really hasn't been addressed yet in this thread. Maybe Freak can answer it. How much can one man really make reloading on a 1050 or a couple 650's? There is really only so much time in the day that one man can produce rounds.
Figure this. If you price so the bottom line (after COGS and overhead is paid) is $50 per case and you easily load 5 cases (5,000 rounds) a day and sell that for 5 days a week straight:

$250 per day
$1,250 per week
$5,417 (nearest $) per month
$65,000 per year

If I had the capital and didn't have to watch my son during the day, I could easily do 5K a day. I've got 12,500 rounds of my subsonic 9mm backordered right now with a dealer wanting another 3-5 cases of that and same number of my .45 ACP. If I had the capital to get the components (mostly bullets right now) I wouldn't have back orders, but would have orders filled and stock on hand selling while I'm loading to replace what is selling. That's the hardest part of a business. Capital and cash flow management (will be bit easier when I'm free and clear, but for now it really sucks).

But even if everything goes as planned, how much does someone stand to make in this profession? 30K, 50K, 75K, or is it more?
There are two ways to make money in this industry: rarity or volume. It's all about margins. Your Gross Profit Margin formula is revenue-cost all divided by revenue, or in plain English, the profit dollars divided by the gross sales. Your Break Even for overhead formula is overhead divided by profit margin (percentage, but in decimal form).

Say your COGS, cost of goods sold is $100 and you sell for $250. You make $150 gross profit. Your margin is 150/250=.6 or 60%. At this 60% margin, let's say your overhead is $4,000 per month. To break even you need to generate 4,000/.6= $6,666.67 in gross sales receipts in order to generate the profit you need to break even (pay business bills). You sell more than that figure to have growth.

What does all this mean:

At $6,666.67 in gross sales receipts with a unit price of $250 you need to load and sell 26.67 cases (thousand rounds) of ammunition in order to break even.

I just tossed numbers out there for example. In my situation with my margin I need to sell more. I could raise my price and thus my profit and margin, but I'd sell less ammo and possibly make less money doing it. The per sale profit would be good, but the overall profit wouldn't be good. Cool if I make $50 per case, but if I sell 4 a week versus 50 a week at $20. What that does is create a cash flow that banks like. Doing volume sales with respectable margins means if you're selling 50,000 rounds a week there is good demand for your product and to a lender, that means growth potential.

freakshow10mm
08-26-2010, 23:56
IF, and that's a BIG "IF" you had a camdex or ammoload set up in 380ACP and a supply of brass and primers, you could've made a killing over the last year or so... Supply is back now, though.
For sure. That's why I'm going after the niche market. The competition can't compete on price, only on volume. What good is volume if the price isn't "right"? Conversely what good is low price ammo if the volume isn't "right"? That's the happy medium we try to find.

If you don't go big, you are only making a business that is a full-time job for you and MAYBE a partner. If you want it to be a successful business, you need to invest a lot. There's just no real profits in small production, even in specialty calibers, except under special circumstances like I described above with the 380 situation last year.
Yes and currently like the .45 Colt. Trouble is you best ride that wave as long as you can, because when it crashes it crashes hard. I've got people asking me to load .223 ammo. I will have no part of it. First off rifle is a PITA to load due to lubing of cases. Now you have guys that buy the cheap steel cased Russian crap for $200/K. Customers that want that cheap of ammo aren't worth dealing with for the small company reloader.


Unless you build a factory (and I'm talking a lot of square feet here) that is half-way between Scharch and Berry's (so somewhere in Western Colorado/Eastern Utah), and put in 9 Magma casters, 5 Magma bullet sizers, and five or six AmmoLoad machines, you are not going to do enough volume to have anything more than a job with a reasonable yearly income.
For the most part I agree, but it depends on your COL. I can absolutely destroy a commercial loader in say, the LA area, due to their overhead costs alone. Look at my ammo versus GA. I'm selling ammo shipped for less than their ammo only price. If they dropped their price down to match mine, they'd close up shop.

You're going to need all the licensing (ITAR, FFL, Local/State Biz Lic), Insurance (Product Liability, property, Worker's Comp), a decent office manager who can answer the phone, do the day-to-day book-keeping (Quicken is decent), knows enough of the biz to speak intelligently to dealers and customers, as well as a lot of the government taxing issues for business in general, and the deadlines/issues regarding all the govt. red-tape for a biz (quarterly income taxes, business taxes, etc.), advertise in the right publications and the right way, and be able to successfully negotiate deals for raw materials as well as sales. Most importantly, you must have a decent group of production people, who can operate, adjust, repair, change-over, inspect, trouble-shoot, etc. the machinery. (They can pull double-duty making sure the machines don't run dry of supplies and moving the finished product into storage.) Lastly, one of the biggest headaches and need for employees in an operation like this will be packager/inspectors.
All good stuff here. That's the part I neglected to consider. The business management. Making something is easy, it's the business management that kills small businesses.

but they'd give themselves a discount based on no shipping and no boxing, but the ladies would still have to inspect the bullets... They cautioned us to do the same, if we combined casting with loading, and we followed their advice.)

Good advice and I do the same thing for my lead ammo reloads. Difference is during the summer we cast as much as possible then use Missouri Bullets in the winter to fill orders (at a much lower margin, but same price).

Here's the operation I like right now:

http://www.rmammo.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1

Small-ish, but not individual in the basement by any means. They need to advertise more, but they have great product and decent prices. Good website, too.
The resell BVAC ammo reloads. Good stuff from what I've read about it.

shotgunred
08-27-2010, 17:59
I don't know the loading business but I do know business and you are selling your product to cheap. I know you think you will make it up on volume but your wrong. there is a finite amount of rounds that you can crank out every month with the equipment you have. Your price is a lot lower than everyone else s. you should bring it closer in line to theirs. If you want to be the cost leader fine be that but lower the margin. It wont cost as many customers as you think and you will end up making more. A high quality product at a fair price will keep you in business.

freakshow10mm
08-27-2010, 22:11
PM sent

MakeMineA10mm
08-27-2010, 23:26
The resell BVAC ammo reloads. Good stuff from what I've read about it.

Actually, I think they are the retail end of BVAC, kind-of like ROZE Distributing is the retail end of Zero bullets.

Either that, or they have some sort of special relationship with BVAC.


Another key issue here is the politics. We are contemplating a business in an arena that is always under fire politically. That means, if you're successful (making a reloading business the size of BVAC or Black Hills), and you want any chance of maintaining that biz and income, you also have to factor in a lot of money for participating in RKBA, NRA, trade associations (especially with legal assistance), etc.

I had a similar learning experience with my food-industry business. The extra red tape of the FDA and storage hassles and risks of needing a cooler and refrigerator trucks (guess what happens to your product when the compressor breaks at 1am, and you discover it at 7am...), and I won't have anything to do with the food industry again.

My next biz. is going to be t-shirts. Very, very low risk, good margins, low start-up costs, no skilled labor. :wavey:

freakshow10mm
08-27-2010, 23:36
Actually, I think they are the retail end of BVAC, kind-of like ROZE Distributing is the retail end of Zero bullets.

Either that, or they have some sort of special relationship with BVAC.
I think they are just a retailer and happen to pimp BVAC. Many places have it.

Another key issue here is the politics. We are contemplating a business in an arena that is always under fire politically. That means, if you're successful (making a reloading business the size of BVAC or Black Hills), and you want any chance of maintaining that biz and income, you also have to factor in a lot of money for participating in RKBA, NRA, trade associations (especially with legal assistance), etc.
Lots of politics for sure. For my model, If I can get one Camdex in each 9mm and .45 and can have the capital to run them each for a full 40 hours (@ 2,000rph), I'll be happy with that size of a business. Size comes profit but also brings additional management headaches. I think myself and a staff of 6 people would be just right.

Exponential growth is usually a blessing, but not always. A local business owner built into her model that her business is managed for one year of growth, one year of retention, and repeats itself. It grows for a year, makes those customers buy again the whole year, then expands the next year a bit, makes those customers buy again; rinse, repeat. Grow, maintain. Grow, maintain. I think that has some merit.

My next biz. is going to be t-shirts. Very, very low risk, good margins, low start-up costs, no skilled labor. :wavey:
Good. I need some shirts made up. :supergrin:

marvin
08-29-2010, 12:17
can you tell me how the FET works?

Rico567
08-29-2010, 12:20
Reloading ans selling ammunition is a business. A fun one, but still a business, with all its problems, expences and pitfalls. Not everyone is cut to be a businessman. Potential liability issues don't make it any easier either.

Bingo. Right on target; I love shooting and reloading too much to EVER get into it as a business.

freakshow10mm
08-29-2010, 12:39
can you tell me how the FET works?
FET is required on all ammunition (complete cartridges) manufactured. The only exemption is for local LE agency sales and the DOD (federal LE agencies are NOT tax exempt from FET). Further, reloading customer brass and giving it back to them as loaded ammunition is tax exempt.

If the manufacturer buys brass, reloads it, then sells it FET is due.

If the manufacturer is GIVEN brass, reloads it, then sells it back to the same customer for their personal use, then there is no FET. The manufacturer cannot replace any brass without paying FET on the entire lot of ammunition.

The taxable sale amount varies depending on customer type, wholesale, retailer, or retail.

www.ttb.gov is the tax collection portion of the ATF.

The manufacturer is liable for the FET, but is routinely included in the price, then line item recorded for accounting purposes.

creophus
09-01-2010, 13:15
Looked into it but decided I couldn't compete price wise. Insurance and taxes and regs would eat me alive.

freakshow10mm
09-01-2010, 22:20
Hey, Creo. How you been?

creophus
09-02-2010, 07:11
Hey, Creo. How you been?

Doing fine. Good to see you again! :wavey:

freakshow10mm
09-02-2010, 08:06
Still alive and kicking.

shotgunred
09-02-2010, 16:59
Looked into it but decided I couldn't compete price wise. Insurance and taxes and regs would eat me alive.

The real problem for most people is to have enough disposable cash to keep a decent inventory. What are you going to do show up to a gun show with 5K bullets.

njl
09-02-2010, 19:38
The real problem for most people is to have enough disposable cash to keep a decent inventory. What are you going to do show up to a gun show with 5K bullets.

I assume you mean cartridges? 5k rounds really isn't much, especially to take to a show to try to sell. That's only a couple hundred $ worth of supplies. If you can't float that, I don't think starting any sort of business is in the cards. If I was going to load commercially and sell at a show, I'd want to show up with several times that.

shotgunred
09-02-2010, 20:44
I am still thinking along the lines of the original question. Why don’t more people turn their hobby into a profit making business?
I just stocked up for a run of 9mm.

6K brass 160.00
Bullets 432.00
Primers 180.00
Powder 90.00
$862 Total for 6K of 9mm. Remembering that 9mm is the cheapest caliber to reload. I don’t see how you could do it without at least 5 to 10 grand tied up in inventory.

freakshow10mm
09-02-2010, 23:18
I am still thinking along the lines of the original question. Why don’t more people turn their hobby into a profit making business?
I just stocked up for a run of 9mm.

6K brass 160.00
Bullets 432.00
Primers 180.00
Powder 90.00
$862 Total for 6K of 9mm. Remembering that 9mm is the cheapest caliber to reload. I don’t see how you could do it without at least 5 to 10 grand tied up in inventory.
Sources, sources, sources.

Brass $13/K
Bullets $65/K plated
Primers $17/K
Powder $11/K
COST $106/K

10,000 rounds will be a bit over $1,000. Shipped prices with powder being factored to 1,000 rounds. 6 cases of 9mm would be about $600, not $800+ unless you are using overpriced jacketed bullets.

Also market dictates the volume. Locally if I showed up with 5 cases of 9mm, I'd be bringing most of it home. Be lucky if a case sells. Bring one for the table and leave one in the car as a backup.

njl
09-03-2010, 05:50
Also market dictates the volume. Locally if I showed up with 5 cases of 9mm, I'd be bringing most of it home. Be lucky if a case sells. Bring one for the table and leave one in the car as a backup.

I don't know what a table at a gun show costs...but if you only might sell one case there, you're probably not making any money at the show. I wonder how many cans of the popular calibers Georgia Arms brings to a typical show?

BigDog[RE]
09-03-2010, 06:01
Sources, sources, sources.

Brass $13/K
Bullets $65/K plated
Primers $17/K Powder $11/K
COST $106/K


How many primers at a time do you need to buy to get them at that price?

creophus
09-03-2010, 07:06
The real problem for most people is to have enough disposable cash to keep a decent inventory. What are you going to do show up to a gun show with 5K bullets.

Well that wasn't so much my issue. I'd have to buy/rent a place where I can load since I can't do it on property I already own.

I don't have the connections to get prices as low as what I'm seeing Adam quote. So with that in mind, I couldn't even make the ammo cheap enough to turn any real profit.

Factor in operating costs and the show was over before it even started.

adaman04
09-03-2010, 07:16
Never turn your hobby into work.

Tough line there. I love everything CCW and self defense so I started doing CCW courses on the side. I love the class itself and the profit can be pretty good but it is A LOT of work. Just doing one per month on top of my regular job and side contract work it started to wear on me and I had to lighten my load a little bit so I'm taking September off from the CCW class to return in October.

freakshow10mm
09-03-2010, 09:56
I don't know what a table at a gun show costs...but if you only might sell one case there, you're probably not making any money at the show. I wonder how many cans of the popular calibers Georgia Arms brings to a typical show?
Table here at the gun shop's gun show is $20. The "big" show in the fall is $30. Both shows are a 4x8 table and include one meal for everyone working your table at the show, up to 4 people, per day. The table fee is per table for two days of the show. I usually also sell components except powder and that seems to go better. The local gun shop is the retail outlet for my ammunition so the gun show stuff is ammo I'm trying to dump and get rid of or special stuff that I only sell at the shows and not dealer direct or online. I load youth loads in .270, .308, .30-'06, and .30-30 with lighweight bullets at high velocity but no more recoil than a .243. I only sell those at the shows. What hurts me is the region I'm in is not an area of high volume shooters. If were to move back to Green Bay, things would change and I'd have to produce more for the local gun shows. Mail order sales are my only lifeline as the local market can't support my business.

;15921295']How many primers at a time do you need to buy to get them at that price?
That's OEM pricing, even less than wholesale. The big reloading dealers can't even buy them for that price. Minimum order is one case (5K), plus shipping and HM. Buy 20 cases (100K primers) and it ships free with no HazMat. $18/K shipped when the dust settles, 2% discount if paid with the 2/10 Net 20 terms.

Well that wasn't so much my issue. I'd have to buy/rent a place where I can load since I can't do it on property I already own.
Best thing is to find a friend with a commercial business and rent some bench space. Even a few hundred square feet will work (I do it in less than 200 sq ft). It's better to rent or lease because it doesn't limit your freedom as much as outright purchases. Just pick up and go not worrying about selling property, but you lose on the opportunity to make profit on the property sale. I personally would give that up for the mobility. Especially with the market the way it is.

I don't have the connections to get prices as low as what I'm seeing Adam quote. So with that in mind, I couldn't even make the ammo cheap enough to turn any real profit.
Brass is easily had from ranges at $1.50/lb. Stick with the Big Three (9-40-45) and sell the rest as reloadable brass. The big kicker is bullets. It's easy to assemble a stock of brass, powder, and primers, but bullets are very expensive relative to the rest, nearly 3 times the cost. Guys with a small casting machine like Lance, can make it happen with lead bullets. Or like Missouri is doing with their Camdex they just got setup for .380 and 9mm.

vafish
09-03-2010, 10:01
Biggest reason I don't become a commercial reloader.

Area I live in (around Washington DC) property is too expensive. It would be too much overhead paying for a building. Also too many local restrictions on shooting ranges. Can't have an ammo factory without someplace to test the ammo close by.

At this point in my life I don't want to move out of the area.

Maybe in a few years when I get the kids out of the house I'll sell my place, move a few hours away where land and buildings are cheaper and start cranking out ammo.

shotgunred
09-03-2010, 20:39
Sources, sources, sources.

Brass $13/K
Bullets $65/K plated
Primers $17/K
Powder $11/K
COST $106/K

10,000 rounds will be a bit over $1,000. Shipped prices with powder being factored to 1,000 rounds. 6 cases of 9mm would be about $600, not $800+ unless you are using overpriced jacketed bullets.

Also market dictates the volume. Locally if I showed up with 5 cases of 9mm, I'd be bringing most of it home. Be lucky if a case sells. Bring one for the table and leave one in the car as a backup.

A reliable source for primers is a big issue. My 10K order from grafs is going on 6 months. You just cant wait like that when your commercial, I cant buy locally for less than $34.00 I have both a state business License and a federal one but primers just suck. The local ranges currently have contracts for brass.
I already buy bullets at wholesale. the problem is rainier can be slow. I have had to wait up to 3 months. So I can do slightly better than you on bullets as long as I order 35K and wait. double you for brass and primers. Powder is a little more.

freakshow10mm
09-03-2010, 22:13
A reliable source for primers is a big issue. My 10K order from grafs is going on 6 months. You just cant wait like that when your commercial, I cant buy locally for less than $34.00.
Buy in enough bulk to cover your supply for a few months. Wideners and PVI will be around $30/K shipped if you need some primers to tide you over. Taking a short term hit on primers is fine and it's part of doing business in short times.

The local ranges currently have contracts for brass.

You can find 9mm or $20/K polished and delivered all day long. You might have to buy 10K at a time, but what's $200?

I already buy bullets at wholesale. the problem is rainier can be slow. I have had to wait up to 3 months. So I can do slightly better than you on bullets as long as I order 35K and wait. double you for brass and primers. Powder is a little more.
Xtreme is tons better at delivery and have a better product. From TJC, 9mm is $63/K and 3K will fit in one FRB for $10, so $66 per K shipped. And it's stacked deep. Take a $4 deduction for 50K in one order. Now you're at $62/K shipped.

Western is the best place for powder. Drum of Ramshot or Accurate powder is only $10.63 per pound plus freight, no HazMat, and it ends up being about $12/lb shipped. By the keg from Graf's cash price is $19.25/lb delivered for the same thing. It's about $540-550 per 45lb drum of powder. Figure 6gr average load is 52.5 K rounds per drum or average of $10.50 per K for powder.

But like you said, bullets, brass, and powder are manageable and plentiful. It's the primers that are the kicker, but even factoring for safety at $30/K as a cost (thus additional margin when you buy at OEM price) you can still be profitable.

njl
09-04-2010, 06:57
Xtreme is tons better at delivery and have a better product. From TJC, 9mm is $63/K and 3K will fit in one FRB for $10, so $66 per K shipped. And it's stacked deep. Take a $4 deduction for 50K in one order. Now you're at $62/K shipped.


On TJC's web site, 115gr FMJ Xtreme are $72/k with free shipping. How do we get the prices you quote?

At that price, I could get 115gr FMJ from MG, but I pay a little more and get their 124gr CMJ or JHP.

freakshow10mm
09-04-2010, 15:12
Dealer discount cash price.

Table Rock Arms
09-13-2010, 15:51
Sources, sources, sources.

Brass $13/K
Bullets $65/K plated
Primers $17/K
Powder $11/K
COST $106/K

10,000 rounds will be a bit over $1,000. Shipped prices with powder being factored to 1,000 rounds. 6 cases of 9mm would be about $600, not $800+ unless you are using overpriced jacketed bullets.

Also market dictates the volume. Locally if I showed up with 5 cases of 9mm, I'd be bringing most of it home. Be lucky if a case sells. Bring one for the table and leave one in the car as a backup.

First off, this is my first post here. I have been watching this thread for a while.

Where are you getting brass for that price? And are you buying 1k here and 1k there? I would love to find a place I can get brass for a good price in larger volume like 20k to 30k at a time. Also, I know that you said your in a poor location for shipping, but you may want to look into getting your x-treme plated bullets direct from them. If you can get a decent price on shipping you may save a few bucks.

Ryan

shotgunred
09-13-2010, 16:01
Where are you getting brass for that price?

www.seminolebrassandbullet.com/

http://leobrass.com/catalog/shopping_cart.php

Pardoner
09-13-2010, 19:07
Where are you getting brass for that price?

www.seminolebrassandbullet.com/

http://leobrass.com/catalog/shopping_cart.php

Not to try and hijack anything, but how do you like your brass?

Straight off the ground, cleaned or some level of processing.

From what I can see, the prices really vary depending on cleaning or processing.

Table Rock Arms
09-13-2010, 19:14
Not to try and hijack anything, but how do you like your brass?

Straight off the ground, cleaned or some level of processing.

From what I can see, the prices really vary depending on cleaning or processing.

I would take it either way. I would obviously expect to pay less for straight off the ground, and more depending on what level of processing.

shotgunred
09-13-2010, 19:38
Not to try and hijack anything, but how do you like your brass?

Straight off the ground, cleaned or some level of processing.

From what I can see, the prices really vary depending on cleaning or processing.
I would rather clean it myself it it will save money.
Last time I bought it from Seminole Brass it was polished and ready to reload for that price. It was 1 1/2 years ago. Never ordered from leo brass but I like their sale price. I would get it uncleaned. I have a big Dillon vibrator and I can clean several thousand rounds a day. I did 4k two weekends ago on Saturday. Its not like they are going to sell brass with mud on it. Once fired landed on concrete isn't that dirty.
I can also recommend neiner niener for the want adds. fast service and clean brass.

Table Rock Arms
09-13-2010, 21:02
Freakshow. Please tell me where you can get 9mm brass for $20 per k cleaned and polished in quantities of 10k.

freakshow10mm
09-13-2010, 22:56
First off, this is my first post here. I have been watching this thread for a while.

Where are you getting brass for that price? And are you buying 1k here and 1k there? I would love to find a place I can get brass for a good price in larger volume like 20k to 30k at a time. Also, I know that you said your in a poor location for shipping, but you may want to look into getting your x-treme plated bullets direct from them. If you can get a decent price on shipping you may save a few bucks.

Ryan
Sorry it took to long to respond. I work a FT job second shift and just got home.

Hit up shooting ranges, man. They've got brass all over the place and that's a large source of revenue for them. Tell them you're a commercial reloader, you want them on contract for their brass. You set the price. Be prepared to walk. It's about passing up BS to find the right vendor, then milking it for all it's worth.

I've emailed my contact to confirm pricing for you as I don't know if the pricing is a "because it's me" favor or not. I'll get back to you on that.

I usually buy 5,000 to test from a new vendor, then buy minimum 10,000 at a time.

I do get factory direct bullets from Xtreme, but it really pays off if I buy a pallet of bullets at a time. Unfortunately I can't afford that at this time.

Maine1
09-14-2010, 01:24
I have thought about it, but was turned off by the non-equipment/non-supply starting insurance costs- $2K insurance a year would bite into my profits pretty good, loading at the level i could maintain at least initially. I already have the equipment, dies, ect, and i load in volume for myself.
also, if i made 10K 45 rounds...i'd be real tempted to keep it.
with the QC that i do, i am not sure i could keep up, i gauge every round i make. I'd have to find a faster way...elves maybe?

freakshow10mm
09-14-2010, 02:01
I have thought about it, but was turned off by the non-equipment/non-supply starting insurance costs- $2K insurance a year would bite into my profits pretty good, loading at the level i could maintain at least initially.
$2,000 is nothing. Try being insured as a civil engineer. Lots more zeros in that premium. Anyway, Think of $2,100 amortized over 12 months; being $175 per month. It's really not that much of an issue.

with the QC that i do, i am not sure i could keep up, i gauge every round i make. I'd have to find a faster way...elves maybe?
Trust your equipment. For pistol ammo just FL size and be done with it. Rifle I would gauge batch sample. You should be setting your sizing die to headspace for rifle. SAAMI has a range of headspace, so size in that tolerance. I'd aim for the middle of the tolerance scale, as too short can be troublesome and dangerous. Too long won't chamber.

Even my personal carry ammo I don't gauge. The dies have proven to make ammo that fits my gun. Go on with life. There's a difference between being cautious and being anal.

Emerson
09-14-2010, 05:47
Freakshow - How do you market your product to your customers and potential customers? It seems that most of your customers are not local for you, so how do you contact them and sell them?

freakshow10mm
09-14-2010, 08:16
Website mostly. List on a few forums.

Right now I'm teaming up with a marketing guru that is helping me with the marketing aspect of business. I'm no expert but am learning as I go along.

Table Rock Arms
09-15-2010, 11:55
A couple more questions for Freakshow.

I know that plated bullets are good to go for standard velocity practice ammo, and have used them quite a bit myself. However it does seem that there is some confusion out there regarding them. Do you ever run into that when you are selling your ammo? I am gearing up to place a good size order of bullets, and I would love to use x-treme as I have used them a bunch and they can be had at a very good price. That being said, I would gladly pay a little more to insure that people will want the ammo. I don't see it being a problem, but I figured you would know as you are selling them.

Gun Powder. Are there any distributors out there that are for 06 or 07 FFL's only that sell powder at better prices than what I can get from Powder Valley. I am specifically looking for Hodgdon powder currently. I know that when you break it down, powder is the least expensive component so if there is not a better deal then its not really a problem, but every little bit helps.

Ryan

freakshow10mm
09-15-2010, 22:43
A couple more questions for Freakshow.

I know that plated bullets are good to go for standard velocity practice ammo, and have used them quite a bit myself. However it does seem that there is some confusion out there regarding them. Do you ever run into that when you are selling your ammo? I am gearing up to place a good size order of bullets, and I would love to use x-treme as I have used them a bunch and they can be had at a very good price. That being said, I would gladly pay a little more to insure that people will want the ammo. I don't see it being a problem, but I figured you would know as you are selling them.
There are a lot of issues with plated bullets mostly because manufacturers say one thing and handloaders, the one's actually loading the bullets, say different.

I've loaded Powerbond, Rainier, Berry's, Xtreme, and made my own (I have access to the chemicals like copper sulfate, sulfuric acid, microetch from my full time job in a copper plating facility). Of those two I would choose would be Xtreme and Powerbond. They have a thicker plating which will hold together better at high velocity. Example: I've shot the Xtreme 230gr RN plated to 1500fps in a .45 Super. The bullet performed just like a true FMJ bullet and there was no smearing of plating like there is with plated bullets, even like the Gold Dot, at those velocities. I use Powerbond for the .45 ACP 230gr HP load as it will flatten well against steel thus reducing potential for ricochet. Everything else I use the Xtreme. Currently I load only 9mm and .45, but have loaded many others in the 4 years I've been a commercial reloader.

The nice thing about plated is they are fully encapsulated so you don't get shunned by indoor ranges for ventilation issues like with FMJ (exposed base) bullets.

When I load copper covered bullets I use jacketed data. I've loaded a decent amount of ammo and never had pressure sign at all with this method. I haven't been loading that long (about 5-6 years) but the volume I've done in that last 4 years commercially gained me some experience that has come in handy (like working with duplex loads in the .32 H&R to come within 100fps of the .327 Fed Mag velocity without pressure sign).

Gun Powder. Are there any distributors out there that are for 06 or 07 FFL's only that sell powder at better prices than what I can get from Powder Valley. I am specifically looking for Hodgdon powder currently. I know that when you break it down, powder is the least expensive component so if there is not a better deal then its not really a problem, but every little bit helps.

Ryan
Hodgdon is a PITA to deal with. They are very arrogant and unwilling to deal with small manufacturers. If you buy 500 pounds (about 875,000rds of 9mm ammo's worth) they might deal with you. By and far Western Powder (aka Ramshot and Accurate) are the best to deal with. OEM bulk powder by the drum (35-55lbs) is only $10.63/lb. With freight it's about $12/lb shipped. Graf's I think is about 15% off retail. Western also distributes Hodgdon/SMP/Winchester powder as well as Lapua (VV).

Also, the brass source is dirty brass, not cleaned, but $20 per shipped minimum 5,000 pieces is leadandbrass.com. Tell him I sent you (freakshow10mm). He's got 30,000 on hand right now.

Table Rock Arms
09-16-2010, 00:06
Thanks for the info. I will try and contact the guys about the brass tomorrow. As for plated bullets, I am with you there. What I am really wondering is if you ever get people who pass on buying your ammo because they are not sure about the plated bullets?

freakshow10mm
09-16-2010, 08:31
Not that I can tell.

Table Rock Arms
09-16-2010, 22:25
Contacted your guy about the brass today. Sounds good so I sent off a check for some. As for plated bullets, I am gonna ask around to see if there are many people who would not buy them. I wish there wasn't so much bad information out there because they shoot great and they are much cheaper. I think that most people who buy reloads either know about plated bullets and realize they are good to go, or they just think bullets are bullets and don't care.

Ryan

freakshow10mm
09-16-2010, 23:39
Explain to them (if buying Xtreme) that they have a thicker plating just like jacketed bullets but are cheaper (make sure you price cheaper than jacketed too) than jacketed. Explain to them they are fully encapsulated so no exposed lead meaning it's cleaner to shoot and reduces health risks. Once I cover those two things, they usually "get it".

Don't ask around. Offer them and have confidence in your product. If you aren't confident in your product, neither will your customers.

Table Rock Arms
09-17-2010, 23:25
I follow what your saying. I am just weighing the benefit thats all. If I buy for less and sell for less then I make the same profit per. The question is how much more do I sell by offering my product for a few dollars less. It could be a wash, the number of people who buy because its a few dollars cheaper might be about the same as the number of people who decide to look elsewhere because you can get jacketed for a few dollars more. Either way, I feel I will be providing a quality product, and I don't think I will have a problem selling it. Time will tell.

Ryan

freakshow10mm
09-17-2010, 23:35
Most customers just want to shoot. They want value. They want accurate, reliable ammunition for as cheap as they can get it. You want a quality product made the cheapest for the highest profit made and sold at the highest volume.

You work with your market to meet in the middle.

shotgunred
09-18-2010, 10:30
I doubt that the average shooter knows or cares about the different bullet types. They just want bullets that go bang and hit the target.